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Hyland v. Office of Housing & Community Development

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 30, 2017

LANRIC HYLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICE OF HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S JUNE 9, 2016 ORDER AND AUGUST 1, 2016 ORDER; AND WITHDRAWING THIS COURT'S MARCH 16, 2017 ORDER

          LESLIE E. KOBAYASHI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On June 9, 2016, the magistrate judge issued an Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (“6/9/16 Order”) and, on August 1, 2016, he issued an order denying Plaintiff Lanric Hyland's (“Plaintiff”) motion for reconsideration of the 6/9/16 Order (“8/1/16 Order”). [Dkt. nos. 63, 73.] Before the Court is Plaintiff's appeal of the 6/9/16 Order and the 8/1/16 Order (“Appeal”), filed on October 17, 2016. [Dkt. Nos. 81 (Plaintiff's filing), 83 (entering order construing Plaintiff's filing as the Appeal).] On October 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed a letter in support of the Appeal. [Dkt. no. 84.] On November 10, 2016, Defendants Office of Housing & Community Development and the County of Hawaii (collectively “the County Defendants”) filed their memorandum in opposition to the Appeal, and Defendant Hawaii Affordable Properties, Inc. (“HAPI”) filed a joinder in the County Defendants' memorandum. [Dkt. nos. 85, 86.] Also on November 10, 2016, Defendant Ainakea Senior Residences LLLP (“Ainakea”) filed its memorandum in opposition. [Dkt. no. 87.] Plaintiff filed his reply in support of the Appeal on November 29, 2016. [Dkt. no. 88.]

         On February 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Submit Additional Facts, [1] which this Court granted on February 28, 2017. [Dkt. nos. 89, 90.] On March 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed his supplemental memorandum regarding the letter attached to the Motion to Submit Additional Facts (“Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum”).[2] [Dkt. no. 97.] The County Defendants and Ainakea filed their respective responses to Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum (“County Defendants' Supplemental Memorandum” and “Ainakea's Supplemental Memorandum”) on April 7, 2017. [Dkt. nos. 101, 102.]

         The Court has considered the Appeal as a non-hearing matter pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i (“Local Rules”). Plaintiff's Appeal is hereby granted in part and denied in part for the reasons set forth below. Further, in light of the ruling on the Appeal, this Court withdraws its Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Suit Without Prejudice, filed on September 30, 2016 (“9/30/16 Order”). [Dkt. no. 80.]

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff originally filed his “Verified Complaint of Lanric Hyland; Complaint for Complaint for [sic] Declaratory & Injunctive Relief; Appeal from Declaratory Petition” (“Complaint”) in state court on August 11, 2015. [Notice of Removal, filed 12/9/15 (dkt. no. 1), Decl. of Melody Parker, Exh. A.] The factual basis for Plaintiff's claims is described in this Court's March 16, 2016 order ruling on the County Defendants' motion to dismiss (“3/16/16 Order”). [Dkt. no. 47.] In the Complaint, Plaintiff attempted to bring various claims - on his own behalf and on behalf of others - arising from events at Ainakea Senior Residences (“ASR”), the low income housing project where he resides.

         In the 3/16/16 Order, this Court dismissed the Complaint in its entirety, but allowed Plaintiff to attempt to cure the defects in a limited number of his claims through a motion seeking leave to file an amended complaint. [3/16/16 Order at 20-24.] On May 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a document titled “First Amended Complaint” that the magistrate judge construed as Plaintiff's motion seeking leave to file the First Amended Complaint (“Motion for Leave”). [Dkt. nos. 54 (Motion for Leave, 56 (EO construing Plaintiff's filing).]

         In the 6/9/16 Order, the magistrate judge granted the Motion for Leave in part and denied it in part. [Dkt. no. 63.] The magistrate judge denied the Motion for Leave as to all of Plaintiff's proposed claims, except for Plaintiff's due process claim based on a threat of termination of Plaintiff's lease (“Lease Termination Claim”). Plaintiff's Motion for Leave alleged that he wants to buy and use a small grill, but that it is prohibited by ASR rules, and he alleged that the prohibition is a violation of his right to acquire and possess property under article 1, section 2 of the Hawai`i State Constitution. The 6/9/16 Order directed Plaintiff to file a second amended complaint that included only the Lease Termination Claim. On July 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the 6/9/16 Order (“Motion for Reconsideration”). [Dkt. no. 72.] The 8/1/16 Order denied Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration in its entirety.

         Although Plaintiff had leave to file a second amended complaint alleging the Lease Termination Claim, on August 15, 2016, he instead filed a Motion to Dismiss Suit Without Prejudice (“Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss”). [Dkt. no. 74.] In the 9/30/16 Order, this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss, insofar as this Court dismissed without prejudice Plaintiff's Lease Termination Claim and the claims that he attempted to bring on behalf of other current and former ASR residents (“Representative Claims”). The remainder of Plaintiff's claims that this Court dismissed without prejudice in the 3/16/16 Order were dismissed with prejudice in the 9/30/16 Order.

         Plaintiff now asks this Court to reverse the 6/9/16 Order and the 8/1/16 Order as to his claims regarding: security deposits; tenant grievance procedures; the formation of a tenant organization; the calculation of the contract rent, to the extent that the amount of the contract rent affects the amount of his security deposit; and the Representative Claims. Plaintiff also asks this Court to affirm the 6/9/16 Order and the 8/1/16 Order as to the Lease Termination Claim.

         STANDARD

         This district court has stated:

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), a district judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and decide a pretrial matter pending before the court. The decision of the magistrate judge on non-dispositive matters is final. Bhan v. NME Hosp., Inc., 929 F.2d 1404, 1414 (9th Cir. 1991). However, a district judge may reconsider a magistrate's order on these non-dispositive pretrial matters and set aside that order, or any portion thereof, if it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); LR 74.1; see Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Osband v. Woodford, 290 F.3d 1036, 1041 (9th Cir. 2002).
The threshold of the “clearly erroneous” test is high. See Boskoff v. Yano, 217 F.Supp.2d 1077, 1084 (D. Haw. 2001). The magistrate judge's factual findings must be accepted unless the court is “left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. Silverman, 861 F.2d 571, 576-[77] (9th Cir. 1988). “The reviewing court may not simply substitute its judgment for that of the deciding court.” Grimes v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991).
“A decision is ‘contrary to law' if it applies an incorrect legal standard or fails to consider an element of the applicable standard.” Na Pali Haweo Cmty. Ass'n v. Grande, 252 F.R.D. 672, 674 (D. Haw. 2008); see Hunt v. Nat'l Broadcasting Co., 872 F.2d 289, 292 (9th Cir. 1989) (noting that such failures constitute abuse of discretion).

Himmelfarb v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Nat'l Ass'n, CV. No. 10-00058 DAE-KSC, 2011 WL 4498975, at *2 (D. Hawai`i Sept. 26, 2011).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum

         Both the County Defendants and Ainakea argue that Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum improperly presents arguments that go beyond the effect of the 2/17/17 Letter and ask that this Court strike Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum. [County Defs.' Suppl. Mem. at 4-5; Ainakea's Suppl. Mem. at 1-2.] When this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Submit Additional Facts, it only allowed the defendants to submit supplemental memoranda addressing the effect of the 2/17/17 Letter on the issues in the Appeal. [EO: Court Order Granting Pltf.'s Motion to Submit Additional Facts, filed 2/28/17 (dkt. no. 90), at 1.] On March 6, 2017, the same day Plaintiff's counsel entered her appearance, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking leave to file a supplemental memorandum in light of the ...


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